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Chestnut Soup
from the kitchen of Sharmagne Leland-St. John

1 1/2 pounds chestnuts (fresh or dried)
1 quart chicken stock, vegetable broth, or water with 1 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon raw sugar
4 tablespoons butter
2 egg yolks
Salt and black pepper to taste

With a chestnut knife cut crisscrosses in the pointed ends of the chestnuts.  Place in a saucepan, cover with water and boil for 20 minutes.   Immediately plunge into cold water.  Carefully remove the shells and inner skins.  Put the nuts back into the saucepan and add the stock (or broth or water) and wine.  Add the sugar and the butter.  Bring the soup to a boil and  simmer for 30 minutes or until the chestnuts are soft.   Allow 40 minutes if using dried nuts.  Set aside 12 whole chestnuts.  Either mash the rest with a fork or put it through a sieve or blender until smooth.

Return the soup blend to the pan and whisk in the egg yolks.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Reheat without letting it come to a boil.  Serves 6 so add 2 whole chestnuts to each bowl and serve.

Note: You can buy chestnuts in the autumn and dry them for winter use.  They may also be ground up and used as a flour or made into a paste.

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